DENVER—(ENEWSPF)—April 25, 2011. This Tuesday, April 26th, women, college students, and advocates around the nation will speak out against laws and policies they believe fuel sexual violence by steering people toward using alcohol -- a major contributor to incidents of sexual assault and date rape -- and away from using marijuana, a substance never linked to sexual violence.
"I honestly believe I would not have been sexually assaulted if we had been using marijuana instead of alcohol at that college party" said Stephanie Morphet, a student at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. "Yet my friends and I have been told our whole lives that alcohol is more acceptable, and that we'd face harsher punishments for marijuana."
A news conference will be held at the Colorado State Capitol Building in Denver, at which victims of alcohol-related sexual assaults, parents of college students, and other women will call on the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control to examine whether allowing marijuana as a safer alternative to alcohol could reduce levels of sexual violence. The group will also be distributing information about the issue to members of the state legislature, and on college campuses students will deliver information to their college administrators.
The Women's Marijuana Movement (WMM) is coordinating the nationwide day of action in recognition of April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Alcohol Awareness Month. It also marks the beginning of the group's educational efforts in support of a 2012 statewide ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Colorado.
"If our government is serious about preventing sexual violence, it's time to start considering the possibility that marijuana prohibition is driving people to drink and fueling incidents of sexual assault and date rape," said Toni Fox, spokesperson for the WMM and mother of a daughter who attends Metro State College of Denver. "Our laws and policies virtually incentivize the use of alcohol over marijuana with the threat of harsh punishments those who make the safer choice. It's bad public policy, and at the very least it's time we took a long hard look at it."
Virtually every organization and government agency dedicated to preventing sexual violence has acknowledged the significant role alcohol plays in the prevalence of sexual assault and date rape, whereas marijuana has never been found to be a contributing factor. It is reportedly involved in about 50% of all sexual assaults and in about 90% of the 100,000-plus sexual assaults that occur among the college-aged population each year. It is frequently referred to as the "#1 Date Rape Drug," by rape awareness and prevention organizations, whereas marijuana is virtually never mentioned.
"I have been volunteering for rape crisis centers and hotlines throughout my time in college, and I can't remember a single story that did not involve alcohol," said Texas Tech University student Shannon Drew. "Never has a victim listed marijuana as a contributing factor to an assault. Not once."
Source: Women's Marijuana Movement